Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New This Fall At Phoenix: Heirloom Apples

One of my favorite local stores is Phoenix Fruit, located on Cove Road, in Orleans. The staff is always friendly, the selection can’t be beat. Looking for ultra-fresh produce? A discount shelf proves that’s the shopkeeper’s goal, too. Want organic? They've got it. Hankering for something obscure? Rachel will try to place an order and see whether regular customers show interest. Like me. I‘m a regular customer. Even with summer traffic, I try to go once a week. In June, I shop Phoenix for the strawberries, field-grown in Connecticut, not mass-produced on a California strawberry farm. The reason I’m reporting on Phoenix today is they're carrying obscure apples. Well, not all that obscure if you happen to be an apple-connoisseur. Here are the heirloom varieties described in The Atlantic last year by Corby Kummer: the Rhode Island Greenling, the Black Oxford, the Baldwin, but also the Blue Pearmain, the Orange Pippin, the Reinette that I ate in France. I literally filled my basket in order to try as many as possible. Blue Pearmains, it turns out, make yummy baked apples. (The Blue Pearmain was Thoreau’s choice for eating. He may have even had a couple in his backpack when exploring the Outer Cape.) The Black Oxford, with its purple skin, is tart and sweet at once. I’m in Apple Heaven just thinking about the amazing choice. Thank you to whoever suggested stocking unusual varieties! Oh, and if you want a Gala or a McKintosh, they’ve got that, too.